BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a big weekend in Baltimore as the Star-Spangled Spectacular kicks off. It’s a nine-day, free festival honoring the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.

The celebration is going to bring in more than 1 million visitors and $7 million in tax revenue.

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Marcus Washington was there as naval vessels and tall ships began arriving in Baltimore’s harbor.

“Today, for me, is the beginning of the week and celebration and commemoration of the bicentennial of the writing of our national anthem,” said Jim Bailey, a Fort McHenry park ranger.

As tall ships approached Fort McHenry for the Star-Spangled Spectacular, they were greeted with a salute in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner composition.

Baltimore-area attorney Francis Scott Key penned the words to the Star-Spangled Banner in September of 1814, after the United States managed to maintain control over Fort McHenry following a bombardment from British naval ships that lasted 25 hours.

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“Two-hundred years of ‘O say can you see.’ We are the star-spangled city and a star-spangled state,” Bailey said. “We gave the nation an anthem, and our celebration kicks off today.”

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From near and far, people lined the water’s edge at Fort McHenry to see ships sail in throughout the morning.

“I got here about 7 o’clock. I wanted to make sure I was able to park and get in. I didn’t want to miss anything ,” said Gail Owen, Middle River.

Many are honoring the past, by sharing the experience with the future.

“Well, I hope that they all, if they have children, that they’ll pass the tradition on and take them to Fort McHenry and reenactments and stuff,” said Donald Stout, of Ellicott City.

Ships from around the world, including vessels from Canada, Norway, Germany, Spain and Turkey, will dock at Locust Point, Fort McHenry and the Inner Harbor. Many of the 30 tall ships will be on public display between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., from Sept. 11 to 16.

Stay with WJZ for complete coverage of the Star-Spangled Spectacular. We will bring you the sights and sounds of this once-in-a-lifetime event all week long.

For everything you need to know about the Star-Spangled Spectacular, click here.

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